I’m fully aware there’s a Holocaust Day each year commemorating six million Jews. It’s a significant day and it’s important for most people to have that day put aside, to remember. It’s essential for the world to remember that the Holocaust really happened and it’s extremely important for the young people of the world to learn about the Holocaust because there are less and less survivors to remind us.
One Holocaust day, once a year is not meaningful for me because I feel it and think about it each and every day of the year, each and every day of my life. The Holocaust is not just a historical event for me, it’s my family’s experience during and in the wake of the Holocaust. Whenever I looked at my parents, I saw my present day modernized parents intertwined with the past. It wasn’t a matter of thinking about it, that’s just how it was. A perpetual unison of the two deep inside me. The past was always in the midst, in the room. It never left.
There are many Holocaust survivor books, Holocaust testimonies, Holocaust museums and memorials… all of these are very important. But as 2nd generation to holocaust survivors, I wanted to expose teens to this subject through my book If Only… a YA contemporary story.
I wrote an earlier post on my blog entitled G’s Struggle with the Holocaust where I explained why I felt impelled to weave this subject into my book. I wanted to give teens a glimpse into another kind of struggle, a struggle different from drugs, friendships, school or any of the teen issues that might come up during adolescence.
G, an important teen character in my teen fiction If Only… appears to lead a charmed life, but there is the family history of the Holocaust which is constantly in the background. G only shares her nightmares with her best friend Lisa and all that those nightmares entail. She doesn’t want to upset her parents so she depends on Lisa for support until Lisa’s life spirals out of control due to her own struggles.
G and Lisa deal with different issues in their lives as so many of us do. It is my hope that those reading my teen fiction If Only… will become more empathetic as well as tolerant and understanding of others.